I promised a long time ago to talk more about our homeschooling. Since we’re coming up on a new school year I thought I’d better get my act in gear and answer more of your questions. (We’re starting August 3. Read this post from last year to understand more about why I like to start so early!) Here’s the question I’ll cover today:
How do you design your curriculum? Do you do the pre-packaged stuff or customize your own?
I guess I do a little bit of both. And I kind of go about it in a weird way…but it works for me and I love it. It takes several hundred hours to figure out and put together…but I love that too because I love surrounding myself with our books for the year.
Here’s how it works for us:
We’ve chosen to use Sonlight curriculum. We completely, totally and absolutely love Sonlight. It is literature based and teaches the kids about history and science and life and all of God’s people all over the world in such a fun and natural way. Instead of textbooks…we read and learn from regular books. Regular really, really good books. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned from this curriculum (and the kids have learned an awful lot too!).
The reason I say that I sort of put my curriculum together myself is this: I’ll have a 7th grader, a 4th grader, a 2nd grader and a four year old this year. I love all of Sonlight’s recommended books, but I’m not able to teach four different grade levels to my four different boys (and still keep up with their laundry).
I use Sonlight curriculum catalog as a guide…then I piece together what books and subjects we’ll cover for the year. I do this for history, science, Bible and read-alouds.
This year, for instance, we’ll all be studying American History. I will be using several of the books recommended for the 3rd and 4th grade level…and several from the 7th grade level and use them altogether for all the boys.
So far this method works well for us (although this year or next year may be our last year for combining all the kids together since Asa’s working his way toward <cough> high school).
What I’ve found is that my littlest boys catch quite a bit of information…Justus catches more…and Asa learns even more than that. It’s working great and I love that we’re all working on the same materials together. It makes for some pretty cool discussions and some awesome times together plopped together in the living room on couches and pillows.
The beauty of homeschooling is that you can teach your family in whatever way works best to teach your family. Almost all curriculums out there have a very easy and detailed teacher guide to make homeschooling possible and simple for every parent. Sonlight rocks in that department with super detailed week-by-week teacher guides. I just go about it in a different sort of way and create my own teacher guide/school outline because that’s what works best for my family at this point in our schooling.
And…have I ever mentioned how much we LOVE homeschooling in our family? Our books have started arriving and you would think it’s Christmas. I love how excited the boys get! Coming up…I’ll share about our homeschool budget, what books we’ll be using this year…and I’ll answer more of the questions mentioned in this post. I’ll also try to share more of the books and programs we like for math and phonics, etc.
Any of you other homeschoolers care to share what curriculum you like and how you go about planning your school year?